News

Iraqi Prime Minister Says New Baghdad Security Plan Underway

Multimedia

Audio

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has announced the start of the long-awaited security crackdown in Baghdad. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from northern Iraq that the U.S. military is also saying that radical Shi'ite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al Sadr has left the country.

In a televised speech in the Shi'ite city Karbala, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki announced the beginning of the new effort to rid Baghdad of chaotic sectarian fighting.

He said, he thinks the message is clear and is defined not by words but by actions. Maliki called the operation the first step in reconciling Iraq's different groups.

Late Tuesday, the Iraqi general in charge of the crackdown, Abboud Gambar, outlined some of the new security measures.

The general says Iraq will close both of its border crossings with Syria and all four checkpoints with Iran.

The general says the closures will be temporary, with most crossings re-opening with better security equipment after 72 hours. He did not say if Iraq's border crossings with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait would be affected.

General Gambar said all people unlawfully occupying homes in Baghdad must return to where they came from within 15 days. Baghdad's rampant sectarian fighting has emptied many neighborhoods of religious and ethnic minorities. Thousands of squatters now occupy abandoned homes.

He also said Baghdad's nighttime curfew will be extended by an hour and he announced new restrictions on carrying weapons.

He says only those authorized to carry weapons will be allowed to do so. Those permitted include American forces, Iraqi defense and interior ministry forces and some licensed private security contractors.

Prime Minister Maliki also spoke Wednesday before a cheering crowd in front of the Shi'ite Karbala mosque.

As the crowd chanted, "Our souls, our blood to you Iraq," the prime minister responded to those urging the government to move more quickly to solve Iraq's problems.

He says a faster approach would be a useless waste of time. He also says Iraq's Shi'ite-majority parliament has approved of the more slow-going approach.

A U.S. military spokesman insists the leader of the Shi'ite militia Mahdi Army, has left Iraq. But Moqtada al-Sadr's office in Najaf denies he fled to Iran because of internal disagreements among his followers. His office said he remains in Najaf, but has reduced public appearances for security reasons.

Major General William Caldwell told reporters in Baghdad that, despite the denials, U.S. officials still believe Sadr left Iraq, but the general refused to say why.

"We will acknowledge that we know he is not in the country and all indications are, in fact, he is in Iran and left sometime last month," he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says it killed 15 suspected terrorists in operations in the Iraqi capital and detained 27 suspected al-Qaida members in Baghdad and Ramadi.

American officials also confirm the Marine transport helicopter that crashed last week, in al Anbar Province, was shot down by enemy fire. Military officials had initially said the crash, which killed all seven Americans on board, was caused by mechanical problems.

U.S. officials say they are reviewing flying procedures, after losing several helicopters to enemy fire in recent weeks.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs